The simplest most reliable way to help the world’s poor a lot would be for rich nations to accept more poor immigrants. While doing so would lower the price of many goods and services that poor immigrants provide, it should also lower the wages of natives who compete for similar jobs. If rich nations completely opened their borders, how big might this reduction be? It seems that even if 90% of the workforce were immigrants, average native wages wouldn’t fall by more than ~10%. From a new NBER immigration lit review:
Calcutta, Bombay, Hong Kong, Singapore and I don't know how many other places were founded in much the same way. Practically the entire non-white population were immigrants from surrounding regions. They all came voluntarily.
And yet, if you show people pictures of those cities in the days when a tiny unelected white minority ruled over vast populations of brown and yellow people, they still use words like "colonialism" and "racism".
In that more technical paper Peri found a clever way to control for Ive discussed before that can contaminate estimates of the effects of immigration on native employment outcomes. I thought it was important though to point out that academic economists dont really contest the existence of this . That said we have learned a lot by trying to poke holes in the landmark experimental studies summarized and ..While those famous papers dealt with important measurement issues weve also learned that experimental studies are inadequate to deal with at least two other factors indicated by economic theory that may be biasing the one way or another..First and this is the measurement issue dealt with by the experimental studies we want to be sure that there is not something that makes a particular area or job a more attractive place to work causing both foreigners and natives to migrate to that area or job.
The Other Evan,
In theory, the Guest worker program you have proposed sounds like a great idea. In practice however, guest workers do not want to their return to their host native country due to various disadvantages (after all, why did they leave in the first place?). If anything, conditions in the native country would among have deteriorated as those on the right hand side of the Bell Curve would be the first to leave. The only means of overcoming this obstacle would be mass deportation and this will not happen due to human rights considerations. As Coldequation mentions, various loopholes would be found to facilitate citizenship. Wealthy countries tend to emphasize human rights to a greater extent and so there would be no shortage of people to aid them in this process. We therefore end back up at square one, which, as I described previously, harms the interest of everybody in the long run.
The second argument against a guest Worker program (which wasn't valid in the past perhaps) is the accelerating pace of automation. The rate of job destruction surely now exceed that of job creation. The unemployment rate will only increase in the future in 1st world countries (where the technologies can be maintained and improved upon), even without any immigration.
I wish that seasteading were real. One seastead with open borders, another with restricted immigration. I predict that a prediction market would predict that the seastead flooded with Somalis and Hondurans would be much less productive than the one Patri Friedman was one.
The 14th Amendment pretty much ruins any guest worker plan. Even now we don't give citizenship to the majority of immigrants, but their anchor babies have birthright citizenship, so in the long run, it doesn't matter. Your guest worker plan would change nothing.
Even if we did repeal the 14th Amendment, the long-run track record of keeping lower castes down isn't very encouraging. In most cases the lower castes end up getting equality and intermarrying with their masters. Hardassed, unempathetic Romans and Southern Americans ended up freeing their slaves. Modern Italians are as much descended from Roman slaves as they are from Roman citizens. The same will be true of Americans in a few more centuries. If assholes like those couldn't keep their subjects down, what chance do we have, when non-discrimination is practically the state religion? It would require that Americans stop acting like Americans. You might as well ask us to take up mandatory female circumcision. Your proposal has no bearing on reality. Of course, a Sperg of the Caplan/Hanson type, living in his world of abstraction, would never understand this.
If you could wave a magic wand and make it work, it would probably be OK for a lot of Americans, just like it is for Emiratis (Dubai). I wrote about this a year ago, so it's not like it never occured to anyone on the immigration restrictionist side.
Um, it’s pretty basic economics that greater population makes things less expensive, because there are more people to do productive work.
That may be true when it comes to things that are produced by work. It's mostly true whether they live in the US or elsewhere. A low-paid Chinese factory worker does not have to live in the US to make manufactured goods cheaper. In fact, he would probably find that he would do better not working and living off the system than working for Chinese wages in the US (if we didn't have minimum wage laws anyway).
For things that need to be done locally, there generally aren't many economies of scale. A maid service or a lawn service isn't much more efficient if it's larger scale. A nurse can handle 2-6 beds whether she's in a small hospital or a large hospital. That means that, if immigration caused prices to drop, it would mostly have to be through wage decreases. I think that would happen, but that contradicts the hypothesis of this post, which is that wages would only drop 10%.
Other things are not created by labor. What's the single biggest expense for most people? Housing. More immigration means more potential construction workers, but it doesn't create land near desirable locations, nor does it make Americans want to live in multi-dwelling housing instead of detached housing. The cost of housing is already much higher than the amortized cost of housing construction in most areas. I also don't see how 3 billion immigrants are going to cause enough gasoline to be produced to fuel enough cars to satisfy 3 billion people who expect an American standard of living. Same goes for lots of other natural resources, in greater or lesser degrees.
In general, it's clear that immigrants would increase supply, lowering prices, and increase demand, increasing prices. It's not clear what the net result would be.
And you don't think that people would pay not to live in your immigrant-filled hell, but you acknowledge the existence of "grounded people?" Don't you think your "grounded people" would take a 10% pay cut to avoid living in it? If not, their fear must not be very "extreme." And how do you know that a bunch of weirdos moving into your neighborhood can't hurt you anymore? Has it not hurt, for example, Palestinians in recent times? Can you take rule of law for granted when the majority of your population are third worlders?
There's a problem with this post, based on whatever your (the reader's) beliefs happen to be:
1. You're a racist, and think that the most important aspects of culture are immutable and solely the domain of genetics. I don't need to explain the problem with the post in this case.
2. You think that culture (including traditions, laws, taboos, social incentives, attitudes to outsiders, and business practices) has absolutely no effect whatsoever on success, and the current wealth situation is based 100%, entirely on circumstance of geographic location. In this case, yes, the plan itself is fine, but now you have to explain why someone like you would possibly be reading a blog that concerns itself with "utility".
3. You think that culture plays some role in success, and that wealthy countries tend to have better overall meme-sets. In this case, you should be terrified at the prospect that people chasing the money from less-successful meme-sets (cultures) are going to completely subsume the uniquely beneficial memes in this one. Ecologies can recover from stress, but too much too fast and the thing falls apart forever.
The only mindset I can imagine being in support of this plan is one that thinks that culture plays some role in success, but not enough, and that the success of wealthy culture X is actually more-deserved by - and will be put to better use by - poor culture Y.
Of course, this is only about entirely open borders. Being entirely closed to the memes of immigrant cultures is also bad in the long run. In that case, the first time another culture goes up against your isolated dodo bird of a culture, your day is ruined. (See: history of the Americas)
The other Evan, that idea of “grounded people” is interesting, I have never heard it before. Do you have a link? I would simply consider such people to be xenophobic bigots (which I have written about).
They do need to avoid people who are not like them. As I see it, the feelings of xenophobia develop because these people do not understand “the other” at a sufficiently primitive enough level (below verbal language usually). When people meet, they in effect do a Turing Test to see if the other individual is “human enough”. If the error rate is too high (if there is not a good one-to-one matching of cognitive and language primitives), then feelings of xenophobia are triggered through the uncanny valley.
It is the feelings of revulsion that come from the uncanny valley that trigger the rationalizations of why “the other” is hated, race, religion, IQ, “death panels”, sexual orientation, etc. The hating comes first.
My hypothesis provides a rationale why such people need to avoid contacts with the objects of their bigotry. Contact with “the other” causes your own mental processes to self-modify to try and understand “the other”, and eventually you will understand “the other” because you will have a piece inside of you that is “other-like”. If you continue to hate “the other”, then you will start to hate yourself.
This is what is behind what the IQ bigots are doing. They feel hatred and need to justify their hatred as being due to some property of the people they are hating. In reality the hatred comes from the haters. Such people think the objects of their hatred are low IQ simply because they are unable to understand “the other” on their terms, and so everything that is different is discounted to be of zero value.
You have to be able to understand an intelligence to be able to evaluate it. If you don't understand it, then you can't evaluate it. This is what most of the IQ fans are unable to appreciate. They have a limited idea of what intelligence is, and can't evaluate anything outside their conceptualization. This holds true for AI too (which is why I think there will never be a singularity. The AI will be unable to evaluate the smarter AI it is trying to build to tell if it is actually smarter, or simply insane in a way that the less smart AI can't figure out. )
If the IQ bigots really did want to raise the IQ of everyone, they would be doing what we know works, better nutrition, better education, better prenatal care, less bullying, less poverty, etc. They are not doing what we know works, they are trying to use IQ as a rationalization to be bigots against people who are not like them. Pretty transparent if you ask me.
I think the reason they don't want those people even as guest workers is that there would be gene flow, and that would be unacceptable.
"So the difference between charter cities and colonialism is that your motives are pure, and Kiplings were not."
You've got that backwards. Rudyard Kipling is the one who ostensibly (his works seem to be intended as satire) endorses coercive imperialism based on supposedly feel-good motives.
Romer's proposal is not coercive in the slightest: the charter cities are established with the consent of all involved parties, and their government upholds human rights and the rule of law, which is as far from coercion as you can get.
Like Caplan, Friedman and Hanson I would like to see future technological progress for the indefinite future-this would improve the lives of everybody on the planet. As the low IQ fraction of a country’s demographics increases there will be greater demand for people in areas such as policing,medicine and govt bureaucracy. Due to this demand people with higher IQ will be attracted to these jobs instead of performing fundamental and applied research.
First of all, I'd like to commend you for actually thinking of these people at all. The impression I get from Steve Sailer and most of the other VDare people is that low IQ people aren't really human and beneath any moral consideration. I don't feel the warmth and the desire to improve humanity that I feel when I read something written by Caplan, Friedman, Hanson, or Hanson's former coblogger Yudkowsky. Instead I feel this simmering hate and a desire to keep these icky people away.
That being said, while your argument does make a good point against mass granting of citizenship, I don't think it does as well against increasing the amount of guest workers without increasing the amount of citizens. That solves nearly every objection everyone in this thread, and in anti-immigration debates in general, make:-Guest workers can't vote, so they won't vote for socialism-Guest workers have a lot harder time using the welfare state-Guest workers won't commit a lot of crime out of fear of deportation.-Guest workers send money back to their home country, so that country won't be deprived of workers.-Since guest workers work and don't commit many crimes they won't suck away high IQ people from other work, in fact their comparative advantage would increase the number of high IQ work done by freeing up high IQ people from low-IQ labor.-This policy would be easier to implement than other ones. It will likely be a lot easier to convince the electorate to let in more guest workers than convince them to let in more citizens.
I think the main reason so many anti-immigration types focus on letting in more citizens, rather than more guest workers, is that it is a lot easier to attack citizenship immigration, since it has a lot more obvious downsides. By contrast there is little in the way of arguments against more guest workers that don't sound racist or morally myopic.
However in a Darwinian World this evolved for a good reason, harsh though this reality may seem. Just because something evolved doesn't mean its good. Don't commit the naturalistic fallacy. And just because something was useful in the ancestral environment, doesn't mean it is now. It is possible to evolve to extinction. in my view groupishness was evolutionarily useful in the past, but only in the short term interests of our genes, in the long run it impeded human development by impeding free trade, globalization, and peace.
Perhaps more effective would be a job-trading arrangement between more developed and less developed countries. For example, unemployed individuals from the US with a high level of education could move to Mexico to work at jobs they are suited for (e.g. teaching, engineering), and in exchange an equal number of individuals from Mexico would move to the US to fill menial labor positions. The reduction in number of overqualified candidates for positions requiring education in the the more developed country would generate more opportunities for upward mobility, and their presence in the less developed country would accelerate its development.
That seems to me a reasonable price to pay for such huge assistance to the world’s poor.
I don't think that that is the major price. I don't think that mass immigration and democracy go well together. Hereditary systems of rule would be different - however much immigration there was, the same people would remain in charge.
Our political problem with immigration is due to the fact that people vote with ballot papers more than with their feet.
Think of it as Colonialism 2.0–minus the rent-extraction, empire-building and brute coercion. In other words, no it’s not at all like colonialism.
So the difference between charter cities and colonialism is that your motives are pure, and Kiplings were not.
According to yourself.
It is true to a certain extent that the attitudes of 'grounded' people towards immigration into their native territory arises is a sentimental response that arises from a less evolved part of the brain. However in a Darwinian World this evolved for a good reason, harsh though this reality may seem. Any advanced country will have a fraction of people with low IQ through absolutely no fault of their own. The bigger this fraction becomes, however, the more dysfunctional that country will become.
Like Caplan, Friedman and Hanson I would like to see future technological progress for the indefinite future-this would improve the lives of everybody on the planet. As the low IQ fraction of a country's demographics increases there will be greater demand for people in areas such as policing,medicine and govt bureaucracy. Due to this demand people with higher IQ will be attracted to these jobs instead of performing fundamental and applied research. The development of resulting technologies would help those in the 3rd world in the long run. Open borders would help those from 3rd world countries in the short term but would dissuade those with higher IQ from developing things in the long run. High IQ people living in 3rd world countries are not renowned for devising new innovations that will improve everybody's prospects for the foreseeable future.
I believe the Polish at least break even, the others largely don't. British natives don't break even either, but non-Polish immigrants more so. This is an affirmation of immigration from poor countries to the extent that Poland is considered to be a poor country. I'll try and find the paper I read this in later.
I also doubt it takes the demand side into account – what happens to the price of commodities, American housing, etc when nearly 4 billion people are consuming at American levels? How far will 90% of a present-day American salary go? How will the American road network and other infrastructure handle 3-4 billion people?Um, it's pretty basic economics that greater population makes things less expensive, because there are more people to do productive work. I look forward to greater immigration because it will make labor cheaper for me. It's true Robin has Malthusian views, but he's not talking about a paltry3-4 billion more people, he's talking about quintillions of brain emulators.
I’ll bet that most Americans would gladly accept a pay cut of more than 10% to avoid that.
I doubt it, I think most opposition to immigration would evaporate if the anti-immigrant people had to pay the full costs of their preferences, personally. The only reason they have such strong views is that border control is a government program, so they think of it in Far Mode instead of Near Mode. If they had to directly pay for border control themselves, instead of indirectly through taxes, their Near Modes would kick in and they'd soon realize their folly.
holy crap are u serious about that link containing rational thought?! its just a bunch of unfounded statements
Sadly, I think they might be serious. There's a certain typed of person, I think in psychology they're called "grounded people," who feels an extreme level of attachment to their society, culture, and community, and an extreme fear of people who might alter it in some way. It probably stems from evolution, back in the bad old days when the weird people moving into your area actually had real power to hurt you.
Grounded people have a gut fear of foreign people far out of proportion to any actual harm they inflict, so they tend to invent arguments on how to keep them away. We already have a way to keep these people away, called "neighborhoods" that keep poor and low IQ people from coming near you because it is too expensive for them to come there. But this isn't good enough for a grounded person. Because they feel attached and grounded to their community and country, they want these people to not even be in the same country as them, even though their country is huge.
You can tell that these people decided to keep immigrants out first, and made up their arguments for why later, by the way their arguments are structured. They always advance reasons like IQ, cultures, and voting as reasons to keep immigrants out, without ever considering a way to work around these problems. A born rules lawyer like me will immediately see workarounds that let you have open immigration, or something reasonably close to it, in spite of these problems. For instance, if you let in as many guest workers as wanted to come, but made citizenship still as hard to obtain as ever, all the complaints about immigrants voting to destroy capitalism and receive welfare would be resolved, while still allowing open immigration. None of them ever suggest this, because they want to keep people out, and made up their arguments to serve that goal and no other. Similarly, no one who makes arguments involving low Hispanic IQ suggests restricting movement of African Americans and prohibiting them from moving freely around the USA, even though that is the natural and logical conclusion of IQ-based anti-immigration arguments.
Pro-immigration economists, like Bryan Caplan, David Friedman, and Robin, all don't seem to be grounded people to me. They all seem glad to stand outside their society and judge it, and they also tend to anticipate radical cultural and technological change with glee and excitement. For this reason they sound bizarre to grounded people, who can't understand why they don't notice this huge and obvious threat.
For the record, I'm not a grounded person, and to me most extreme anti-immigration types sound paranoid at best, and pathological at worst. I can't understand why they aren't embracing a way to help millions of people that requires absolutely no effort on their part. To me open borders sound like the deal of the century, a way to help lots of other people without spending any of my own time or money.